Humans are the species that have made the singular greatest difference in the ecology of the earth, and generally not in good ways. It’s important to keep that in mind in whatever business endeavor you undertake. Although it may not be the first thing you consider when starting a new business, waste management is necessary for many reasons. It is virtually impossible to manufacture anything without producing a large amount of trash. In some cases, this waste may be hazardous in some way, which makes the situation even more serious. As for the issue of ethical sourcing, ethics should require no justification.
Change Now or Pay Later
If you fail to dispose of your waste according to all relevant laws, you could end up being slapped with huge fines like this Ocean Beach California newspaper discusses. “Target was discovered to have been disposing of batteries, light bulbs, medical waste and other environmentally hazardous materials improperly in landfills across the state of California. And as such has agreed to pay a $7.4 million settlement to the state of California.” Even if this doesn’t happen, the environmental damage will eventually show, and your company’s image will be destroyed. You might think that you can save a few bucks by not disposing of your waste properly or by purchasing raw materials from questionable sources. However, these are bad business decisions that can only hurt you in the long run. This is why we say that you can either pay now or pay later.
Reducing Production Waste Helps Everyone
You might be surprised to find out just how much waste occurs on a daily basis. Entire countries could be fed from the garbage of one industrial nation. If we continue to trash up the world at the present rate, no one will care about making money because they will be living in a trash heap.
A great example of this is Numi Organic Tea. They have incorporated green living and waste reduction and management into their brand image. They explain, “using organic products, celebrating the accomplishments of people, not looking at them as workers and employees, but as real people, putting fair trade products as a first priority, being eco-responsible and more are all the backbone of our company and its practices.”
Finding ways to utilize what used to be waste is essential. For instance, doTERRA explains their ethical sourcing practices here, “un-ripened mandarin fruit that was once considered a throw-away product after seasonal thinning mandarin trees (up to 70% of the tree fruit) can be used for the production of health and beauty products. By sourcing these unripe Green Mandarin fruits from small-scale farmers in rural parts of Brazil, companies are able to obtain this unique product while supporting these farming communities with this additional income stream during the off-harvest season – allowing the income from ripe fruit (for the food market) to be mostly for profit.”
Public Relations Considerations
You should never fail to source your products ethically. Even if a business owner does not care about the environment, they should care about their bottom line. Consider for a moment the fate of Exxon. In 1989, they had a massive oil spill that turned into an environmental disaster. Their company suffered greatly from all the bad press that resulted. In many ways, the bad PR was more expensive than the actual cleanup. Seeking Alpha explains, “Exxonmobil still struggles with bad PR and being generally unliked as a company for their multiple environmental disasters and other problems. It’s hard to rebrand after that.”
By being diligent about waste disposal and ethical sourcing, you can avoid many problems. These problems include fines, PR nightmares, and toxic pollution. Not only is it good for your business, but also, doing the right thing is good for the soul.